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Wayfinding Behavior within Buildings - An International Survey

Veeraswamy, A., Galea, E.R. and Lawrence, P.J., 2011. Wayfinding Behavior within Buildings - An International Survey. Fire Safety Science 10: 735-748. 10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.10-735


A building wayfinding questionnaire study is presented which analyses the importance of a set of wayfinding criteria from a building evacuation perspective. The main path selection criteria tested in this questionnaire are handedness and length of the first leg of the path. The study involved 1166 participants from 36 countries. The results suggest that the handedness, a genetic factor, and the side of the road people drive on, a cultural factor, exert a significant influence on path choice. The results of this study clarify misconceptions existing in urban wayfinding studies regarding the importance of the length of the first leg of a path. Path selection criteria along with their relative rankings are suggested for inclusion in wayfinding algorithms used within evacuation models. It is further suggested that these rankings may be country specific.

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